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The Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji I.B. Kargbo (in photo) who doubles as government spokesman has given an update of developments in the first quarter of this year and other events involving Sierra Leone’s participation within the ECOWAS region.
At yesterday’s usual ministerial press briefing held at the conference hall of the ministry, the minister started his update with events in Libya and the status of Sierra Leoneans residing in that country.
He spoke of efforts by his government to evacuate our nationals from Libya via Tunisia with the assistance of the International Office Migration (IOM).
The evacuees, he went on, would be brought home in batches on board a bus, but did not state when they will finally arrive home
He added however that the evacuees include only those Sierra Leoneans who expressed their willingness to return home as many others preferred staying or be taken either to the UK or the United States.
Priority has been given to women and children as the first group of returnees, he added.
Alhaji Karbo further reiterated Sierra Leone’s position on the Ivory Coast crisis which he said was in line with that of ECOWAS, recognizing Alassan Outtara as the legitimate President of Ivory Coast who won the November 7, 2010 Presidential elections.
He said Sierra Leoneans residing in Ivory Coast have been advised to find safe passage to Accra, Ghana where they could easily be traced.
Earlier in his update, the minister informed journalists that the suspension of both Niger and Guinea has been lifted and that the two countries have been re-admitted into the ECOWAS family following the successful conduct of democratic elections in those two West African countries.
On the domestic front, the information minister spoke of the recently held agricultural show in Makeni city which he said attracted a number of farmers from across the country with attractive prizes won by enterprising farmers.
Emphasizing on the importance of women in nation building, the minister recalled the celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day which he said was held in Magburaka town, northern Sierra Leone.
He disclosed that the President, Ernest Bai Koroma has declared the day as public holiday with effect from next year to underscore the role of women in society.
He briefed journalists on the activities his ministry has undertaken so far including the establishment of a Public Information unit at the ministry, the setting up of resource centers in Freetown, Bo and Kenema while work is in progress to complete the resource centre for Makeni.
“Complete with internet facilities, the public can now access information from these centers,” the minister assured.
In a rather uncompromising mood, Alhaji IB Kargbo threw a sling at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, questioning its objectivity as a state broadcaster.
He said bashing government does not necessarily determine objectivity.
He warned that if the station cannot perform the task for which it was created there is a provision in the Privatization Act that can revert it back to a government owned entity.
“Let me make it known that the SLBC is on trial” he added.
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